If Alex Jordan were alive today, he’d be on the TV show "Hoarders".
The Wisconsin eccentric wasn’t happy with a single tea set. He had to own a dozen. Instead of two creepy dolls, he amassed two hundred. Three medical vials? Try three thousand.
You get the picture.
Jordan’s knickknacks fill every inch of House on the Rock (5754 State Road 23, Spring Green WI, (608) 935-3639).
He supposedly built the 200-acre complex to show up Frank Lloyd Wright (who called him an incompetent architect). When Jordan finished the home in 1959, curiosity-seekers convinced him to turn it into a museum.
It’s a dizzying walk through the House’s three sections. This is not a trip for the weak-stomached. A few areas smell like a cross between rotten cheese and wet cat.
I slumped through mole-like passages that opened into monstrous displays. Such as, “Heritage of the Sea,” a 200-foot whale and squid locked in a battle to the death, wrapped by a staircase lined with sailboats. “Music of Yesterday,” coin-operated ghost orchestras that bang out circus songs. “World’s Largest Carousel,” hundreds of fairytale beasts spinning under the glow of chandeliers. "Hallway of Infinity," a glass walkway jutting out high above a valley, with no supports underneath.
The sensory overload left me battered. I was in awe of Jordan's grandiose vision, the magic and wonder he created. At the same time, I wanted this claustrophobic flea-market nightmare to end. Wisconsin’s House on the Rock, you will haunt my dreams.
What’s the strangest museum you’ve ever encountered? Would you set foot in this one?
Stay tuned for the next Coolhunting episode, where La Carmina visits a top secret restaurant/bar in Milwaukee.
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